First up is Arrow Book of Ghost Stories, edited by Nora Kramer and illustrated by George Wilde.
It was first published by Scholastic in 1960, and this is the seventh printing, from 1965. It's a wonderful cover — it would have easily landed in the Top 5 of last year's Scholastic Countdown — that's only slightly lessened by the blue-pen scribblings of some little devil long ago.
Karswell wrote about this volume in 2011 on the And Everything Else Too blog and included scans of much of Wilde's wonderful interior artwork, which you can check out there.
This is yet another Scholastic title that, not surprisingly, brings out nostalgic feelings in many. A few examples:
- "It's been years since I read this book but it was one of my absolute favorites as a child. ... I'm buying this book now for my daughter and look forward to sharing these wonderful stories with her." (Reviewer on Amazon.com)
- "I too loved this book as a child and sought it for over twenty years. Eventually I found one and it's a keeper. I can read this over and over. Sadly, the more modern ghost stories don't grab me like those from this era." (Commenter on And Everything Else Too)
- "I think this must have been one of the first books I ordered thru the Scholastic Book Club when I was in grade school. ... I wish the local library had a copy, because I'd love to revisit it after all these years." (Reviewer on GoodReads)
- "My mother would read to me from this book when I was a child back in the early 70's. I'm sure it was purchased by one of my older siblings at our elementary school's book fair long before I came along, as the book was well used by the time it entered into my memory. My mother would read aloud, 'The Wonderful Cat of Cobbie Bean' each October. Even as I aged I never tired of listening to my mother read this story aloud. I also crept to my bottom bunk bed and read the book cover to cover many times. ... Every October came and went with readings from this fabulous book. Halloween simply was not Halloween without this book. And with each year the book showed more and more wear and tear from all the affection and use." (Reviewer on Amazon.com)
"Cobbie Bean" is the longest tale in the book, taking up 37 of its 116 pages.
Other tales include Joseph Jacobs' amusing short version of the old folk tale "The King o' the Cats," featuring Tom Tildrum and Tim Toldrum; "The Water Ghost" by John Kendrick Bangs; and "The Woodman and the Goblins," a funny and spooky little story by J.B. Esenwein and Marietta Stockard.2
featured on Papergreat last October.
This well-creased copy was again written by Joseph and Edith Raskin, a husband-and-wife team, and was published by Scholastic in 1973. The illustrator was again William Sauts Bock, a Pennsylvania artist who now goes by William Sauts Netamuxwe Bock and has the website Heart and Soul Artworks.
Tales in the 124-page book include "The Riddle of the Room Upstairs," "The Ghosts of Gibbet Island," and "The Witch Who Spoke in Many Tongues."
Finally, the copyright page includes this amusing note:
"All the stories in this special Arrow edition of Ghosts and Witches Aplenty are complete and unabridged. However, the second and fifth stories of the original hard cover edition were omitted, since they were not about ghosts or witches."
1. Mystery of the Witches' Bridge has been written about by BellaOnBooks's Blog, Bill Cameron, the bookwyrm's lair, and The Kid Books Review, among others.
2. "They did not wink, they did not blink."